Tuesday, May 17, 2016

More proof that Vancouver really is for the birds

I spent much of my weekend this past week involved in birding activities.
I spotted this spotted towhee during my "big day" count.

Yeah, I know. That's not really anything new. I spend a lot of my free time birding, or taking adventures that involve some element of seeing or watching wild birds (when I'm not paddling...and the two often intertwine).

However... this time, my activity included my own personal involvement in one of the many events taking place as part of the 2016 Vancouver Bird Week.

This event has been taking place for four years now, and offers activities for all who are interested in birds, whether it's a casual interest, an avid passion, or anywhere in between.

The event has a theme and an official "city bird." This year, the peregrine falcon was the official bird of Vancouver Bird Week. The theme was "Birds in Our Garden."

I first heard of this annual celebration last year, just after it had wrapped up, via social media. This year, I was a bit more prepared, but still was not able to take part in as many activities as I would liked to have done.

The events ran from May 7 to 14, and included bird photography classes (outdoors, of course), guided bird walks in many of the Vancouver city parks and some regional parks in the Metro Vancouver area, birding for beginners workshops, a movie, a book launch, a special birding tour of Howe Sound, and a "big day" of birding, on May 14, which just happened to be International Migratory Bird Day. To take part in this,  participants went out and about, in and around Vancouver and tallied all the different bird species they saw.

 Mallard ducklings on Avalon Pond in Everett Crowley Park, Vancouver.

These tallies were then presented in the Vancouver Public Library's central branch Alice MacKay Room, at the Bird Week Finale ... which also marked the launch of a new book - or rather, a revised edition of The Birder's Guide to Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, produced by Nature Vancouver.

Following some speeches and presentations, there were several draws for prizes that included books, bird-friendly coffee, wine, cloth tote bags, and a spotting scope donated very generously by Bird Studies Canada.

Some nice draw prizes were handed out at the finale.
But wait - there's more...

This isn't news, but more of a reminder.

Rob Butler - the man who led the sea safari in Howe Sound - talked about how Vancouver will host the 2018 International Ornithological Congress.

This is a huge "feather in the cap" (pun intended!) not only for the birders here but for the entire city. Vancouver outbid everyone else for this event, which only takes place once every two years. Tokyo was the host this year.

The next one will take place in the summer of 2018.

Before that, though, there will be Vancouver Bird Week, 2017 to look forward to.

Next year, I plan to be much more involved. Because I really do believe Vancouver is for the birds. And that's a good thing.

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